Somehow work seems to get in the way of hobbies and sometimes even cooking–to a frustrating extent (you’ve noticed no recent posts, huh?). But one must work in order to cook, eat, and in order to support the creatures of the hive.
Although I did see bees on the quick January check when we had few rather unseasonably warm days in February and I saw bees flying in and out of the hive I was really, really happy. Both hives!
Now we have gone back to more seasonable weather for March but I’ve noticed despite rather cool (temperature currently 50°F), breezy (sometimes very windy) weather that the girls are in and out bearing a little pale greenish-white pollen–though their corbiculi are certainly not overflowing–in fact, they are downright skimpy. But there is traffic in and out despite the cool weather.
I’m a bit twitchy about what is really going on inside the hives since a friend has already had a swarm from one of his hives on the 6th of March–despite the cool weather. I’ve had that very early swarm experience before and I don’t want to have it again so I need to prepare some woodenware to set up a new hive in case I need to do an urgent split, instead of having my bees wander off into the wild blue yonder!
Another thing that adds to my frustration of not knowing exactly what the girls are up to is that I’m in the midst of doing some equipment switches to change how I manage brood in my hives. As a “new-bee” I started with all medium eight-frame equipment. Last spring I switched to single deeps for my brood boxes since I just didn’t like how the medium frames split up the brood pattern.
All winter I’ve been debating whether I want to manage my colonies with one or two deep boxes for brood. After reading and talking to other beekeepers I have decided (almost) that I want two deeps for brood in my colonies. Now I’m trying to plan how that switch is going to take place. I somehow think that the girls are not going to make this a simple case of just putting another deep in place on the hive. I think planning a strategy would be a lot easier were I privy to what the girls are actually doing inside the hive.
But I’m a coward so I won’t open a hive in 50°F weather other than for just a quick peek to see if there still candy board for them to nosh on during our still-chilly and rainy weather. I don’t want to take the chance of chilling brood. I only hope that they are not busily preparing to swarm since I saw a lot of bees in January. So, I remain in ignorance, looking at a weather forecast that’s not going to let me find out much more for at least another week–highs in the 40s and rain at times.
You should at least be seeing action in and out of the hives in the last few days? Only way to know if things are well at this time of year…
Yes! Even though it’s very cool–not even 50 degrees yet, although the hives are in the sun–I’m seeing traffic in and out of both hives. The girls are carrying in some pollen though I don’t think there is a lot available right now. The maple is past its prime bloom now. But I’m pleased to see traffic. However, a friend has already had a swarm.
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Wow! A swarm already. Although you never rule anything out, this is pretty early for a swarm. Is he/she certain that’s what it was?
He’s sure–a very experienced beekeeper. That’s why I’m in a rush to get an empty hive set up in case I need to do an urgent split. We’re having snow right now and cold nights and forecast a week of highs in the 40s and 50s. One of my colonies had a LOT of bees in January and we have had some warm weather since. Seems odd sitting here looking at the snow falling and worrying about the bees swarming!
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Yes, it does!